Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates has described the proposed TikTok offer for the company as a poisoned chalice. Gates makes it plain in an interview with Wired that purchasing parts of TikTok won’t be easy or quick. “Who knows what’s going to happen with that deal,” Gates says. ” But yes, it’s a poison[ed] chalice.” He also notes that being a big player in the social media business “is not a simple game,” because Microsoft will have to contend with a whole new level of content moderation
Asked if Gates is wary of getting Microsoft into the social media game, he suggests that having some more competition for Facebook is “probably a good thing” but “having Trump kill off the only competitor, it’s pretty bizarre.”
Gates seems as uncertain as the rest of us on how this proposed TikTok transaction is happening, particularly with President Trump implying that some form of cut from any purchase would be required by the US Treasury. “I agree that the principle this is proceeding on is singly strange,” Gates says. “The cut thing, that’s doubly strange. Anyway, Microsoft will have to deal with all of that.”
Only days after Microsoft announced it was negotiating a deal to purchase TikTok’s activities in the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Gates’ comments arrive. Reports have also indicated that Microsoft would propose purchasing all of TikTok ‘s global activities, with the Financial Times indicating negotiations are on the “preliminary” level for this specific transaction.
President Trump also claimed last week that he was a day away from banning TikTok in the US, before later setting a 15 September deadline for Microsoft to close its potential acquisition and avoid banning TikTok.
It is a complicated deal that would give Microsoft a big presence in the social networking space at the risk of becoming part of a bigger US-China trade war. Gates is obviously skeptical about the deal, but we are only a month away from knowing if it will happen or not.